By Kris Osborn
U.S. Army forces in Europe are preparing for a major journey from Germany to Hungary as part of a training exercise and effort to show solidarity and strengthen a U.S.-Hungarian alliance, service officials said.
The exercise will begin with a 700 kilometer Stryker unit convoy from Germany across the Danube River into Hungary - designed to demonstrate the mobility of Army forces.The convoy will begin in mid- September and extend through mid October of this year, Army spokesman Troy Rolan said.
"This will demonstrate our operational mobility and freedom of maneuver to enable the NATO alliance," he added.
This new Army convoy comes on the heels a massive 1,800 kilometer Army convoy through six countries from Estonia to Germany earlier this year -- called the Dragoon Ride. During Dragoon Ride, soldiers with the Army's 2nd Cavalry Regiment traveled from the Baltic States through Poland the Czech Republic into Germany, greeting allies along the way.
The new convoy operation, called Brave Warrior, will end with two months of training with the Hungarian military.While not explicitly designed to signal messages to the Russians in light of ongoing tensions over violence in Ukraine, the journey and the training are intended to demonstrate U.S. mobility and resolve with its allies, Army officials said.
Army leaders say that the U.S. and its NATO allies do not necessarily think of Russia as an adversary but do explain that U.S. European allies are concerned about Russia's recent activities -- such as its annexation of the Crimean peninsula in March of last year.
The U.S. and its European allies are also quite naturally concerned about Russia's backing of separatist fighters in Ukraine fighting against the Ukranian military. Army officials say that the European countries they are training with are concerned about Russia as a threat to the stability of Europe.